Proper humidity levels in the air increase comfort for people in offices and buildings. The standards for humidity levels in office buildings range from 20 per cent to 60 per cent, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. People and machines function best when the building is neither too dry nor too humid. Large buildings use special equipment to keep humidity at optimum levels.
Dry skin, sinus irritation, burning eyes and excessive thirst all point to overly dry air inside buildings. In the winter, the heating equipment dries the air, just as the air conditioning does in the summer. Dry skin cracks and leads to infections. Sinuses also become irritated, which eventually leads to sinus headaches. Dehydration causes discomfort and results in urinary problems.
Paper jams in office copiers and printers indicate that the humidity levels are too low. Laser copiers and printers use high heat to bond the toner to paper, which dries the paper even further. When the equipment jams or does not operate properly, companies and organisations lose productivity and waste paper.
Shocks from static electricity may be annoying to people in offices, but these shocks cause equipment failure in machines that use low voltages, especially computers and sensitive electronics. The shocks have the potential to light highly flammable materials if the shock is strong enough. Some people use rubber mats under the computers or chairs to reduce the damage caused by electrical shocks.
Cold or warm spray humidifiers in an office increase the humidity levels and mitigate the problems caused by dry air. Mechanical humidifiers rest inside the ducts to add humidity to the air in large air conditioning systems. Using a humidity meter helps manage the moisture in the air at safe and comfortable levels. Living plants in offices also provide relief from dry air since these plants take in and release water vapour constantly.